How to duck dive waves on your bodyboard with Rob Barber – Bodyboard Holidays
Duck diving isn’t the sports most glamorous move but is arguably the most important of them all. The humble duck dive will ultimately help you to catch the best waves each session. When you’ve learned the basics your confidence will soar. The sense of relief that you experience after nailing an amazing duck dive under a ten-foot wave is one of the high points of any experienced bodyboarders session.
Here at Bodyboard-Holidays we’re self-confessed bodyboarding addicts and love nothing more than sharing the skills to help you score the best waves of your life on one of our international bodyboard holidays. Or helping you to finesse your riding skills on one of our coaching weekends. While it’s not as awe-inspiring as aerials, tube rides and carving spins, the duck dive is a cornerstone skill of bodyboarding. With this advice article and video, we can help you nail it!
Duck diving is an essential skill that all bodyboarders aim to make second nature. Duck diving is how bodyboarders get under oncoming waves out beyond the breaking waves and into the area known as the ‘outback’. This particular skill becomes vital in big surf or when a wave is about to break on top of you or in front of you. Using the technique below will ensure your paddle out is successful and will greatly reduce being washed back to shore by the oncoming waves. In the long term, it will save you hours of frustration so give it 100%.
The start of a successful duck dive begins by paddling towards the oncoming wave as fast as you can (check video @ 0.20). You will need to keep your eyes fixed on the wave, monitoring its speed and judging the distance as it comes towards you. The bigger the wave, the earlier you should duck dive and the deeper you should plunge. For small waves, you only need to dip under with a shallower duck dive.
For a head high wave, you should duck dive when the wave is roughly two metres away, slide your weight forward and move your hands about 30cm down from the nose, gripping tightly onto the rails (check video @ 0.35). Push your upper body upwards into a press-up position with your head directly over the nose of your bodyboard. As your board begins to sink below the water, shove your knee into the tail to guide it downwards at a 45 degree angle (check video @ 0.37). Next, stretch your other leg out behind you. This helps stabilise you under the water and reduces the chance of being dragged backwards by the wave as it passes over you. With the correct timing and board position under the water, the wave will now be passing over the top of you. As this happens, you need to make yourself as flat as possible, pushing your board out in front of you, with your hands gripped in the same position and your arms laying flat on the deck of the board. Your head is looking up at the white water passing over the top of you and your stomach down to your toes are as flat as possible (check video @ 0.41).
When the wave has passed, angle your bodyboard upwards bending your arms slightly, whilst always looking where you are going (check video @ 0.43). Throughout the whole duck dive process, you should be kicking with your fins to avoid being dragged back.
Once you have mastered the art form that is duck diving, your confidence in the surf is guaranteed to skyrocket!